Allied is a WW2 thriller that tells the story of Canadian intelligence officer Max Vatanor (Brad Pitt) and French Resistance agent Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) who meet in Casablanca, French Morocco where they plan to assassinate the German ambassador. And, as we all know there is nothing more sexy than an assassination on your first date.
The film has what can only be described as a bumpy start. Kicking off with a dodgy computer game-ish CGI effect in the first scene as Pitt’s character parachutes into North Africa, which completely takes you out of the film. Then our two main characters, who are pretending to be a married, engage in some of the most awkward romantic encounters I’ve seen on screen in a while. It’s quite shocking how little chemistry these two convey on screen in the beginning. Don’t even get be started on Pitt’s over comedic, verging on parody, card shuffling. But once the action kicks in and the mission has been completed the film shifts gear and begins to redeem itself. Once the couple has returned to London you start to actually believe in this war-torn romance.
Back in London Max and Marianne marry and even welcome the birth of their daughter during the blitz. But, as we all know during war time you can trust no one so family life is interrupted when Max is given his most sensitive mission yet by the mysterious ‘V Section’ operative played brilliantly by Simon McBurney.
As the suspense builds in London Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard both shine and it really looks and feels like a different film. The brilliantly performed and paced second half did have me on the edge of my seat left me guessing long enough to keep me interested.
As a whole, I expected a little better from Forrest Gump, Castaway and Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis. What could have been an outstanding film is held back by what feels like a completely re-shot beginning??
If you can make it through the dodgy Morocco sets and terrible first 20 mins, then Allied pays off and is well worth a watch. Following its clumsy start, Allied finds its footing and thrills right til the climax. Oh er….
Out in NZ cinemas now.
Reviewed by Ian Wright.